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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  September 8, 2009 5:00am-6:00am EDT

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assessments of them and sort of tried bring those two bodies one quantitative and one qualitative together to make a clear story. >> why did you decide to write the book in the first place? >> i was interested in the question of "why we fight" wars and how we explain those and that for me ermg emerge as most important elm of that. confederates far long time. particularly for lower and nonslave holding confederates. lower class. the argument has been it's a somewhat irrational war. doesn't make sense for them to fight and my arguement what i tell my students we have to give historical actors the same credit we would give ourselves. we rationalize is the bad way to put it i think. but we explain things to ourselves in ways that make sense and they did the same thing and it was trying to figure out why they start and how they understand it over time because we continue to fight wars. we continue to offer explanations that make sense to us and historically become quite baffleing and i want to catch that sort of dynamism and that change over time. >> great.
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we've been talking with dr. aaron sheehan-dean about his book "why confederates fought" family and nation and civil war. >> thank you. randy shaw. executive director of the nderloin housing clinician safrancisco presents a history of cesar chavez and the unitedarm workers contends the ufw influenced future social jus cities influence and affected the state of american labor
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immigrant rights and asndancy of latinos in politics this event hosted by busboys and poets in washington, d.c. lasts about an hour. >> ap. >> thankou very much and thank everybody for coming. was at a book reading in portland few weeks ago and someone said to me afterwards you never worked for the uw and you're not latino so why did you write this book? so i thought i would start by sort of explanning that in case some of you wer wondering. you know, i was always fascinated by people i'd come across who when they were very young often teenagers still g involved with this organization that became so transformative that after they had their contact with the ufw they spent the next 30-40 years of their lives working for social justice. and i thought it's amazing people need to know what is it about this organization that had that kind of dramatic impact. because there was a l of organization of the 60s and 70s but none exceeded the ufw
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in buildings -- building paep's confidence and instilling a lifetime commitment to social justice. and so that's why i wrote "beyond the fields"nd m own connection to the ufw began in the 1970s because i was living in berkeley and i met someone namedary who was a farm worker and here's how gary got involved and it's a story that is somewhat very typical and some of you in this room i think have had this similar experience. so gary had gone to college for a couple years. decided he wanted to take a year off a figure out what he wante to do and kick back whatever. walking through plaza in berkeley campus and there's a table there in those days in the 60s and 70s you could not go on any college campus or any supermarket and not have a ufw boycott staffer there. i mean, everywhere. that was all throughout north america in berkeley there are multiple people at the multiple tables and multip locations and so
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he's there. had a list of signing up for volunteers and gary's looking at the information and figures i'll sign up. it would be nice. right. signs his name. goes home. how many of youave gone to a public place. sign u to volunteer and you ner hear from the people again. right? but what gary didn't know. many didn't know is fred ross senior who was cesar chavez's mentor and trained him. had a rule for the u f w staff when people sign up, you call them that night and you ask them to do something. get them involved right away. so gary gets a call that night and say hey, we need someone to comeelp us at a table at telegraph avenue tomorrow. can you do it? and he figures well, i did sign up so i have to follow through on what i agreed. so sure, i'll be down there. and the way the ufw did tabling anyone in here do any tabling with the ufw. the expression used is barking. i don't know if you know tex presentation bking. you go to a college campus
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today and people are like, students are sitting in front of the tables and they have literature and people walk by and they kind of nod. that wasn't the ufw way. they would be standing up saying hey, come on, come help the farm worker cause. come on in here. sign up. it wasn't passive so gary is watching this. the uf the staffer says to him. hey, why don't you try it. he figures oh, sure why not. he's up there getting into it. he spends about an hour on his feet barking and getting into it and people are signing up and he goes home feeling he did his day's work. he did his volunteer for the cause and now he's back to work. you know life goes on. he gets a phone call that night. gary we really appreciate all you've done. you've been great but really need a favor. cesar chavez is speaking at st. seph. the shipwrecked church on 10th street and we really need someone to help do security for him. now, i always ask audiences if you were asked to perform security for cesar chavez
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would anybody say no? of course he said yes. so he's down there on 10th street and he's there for about an hour and all of a sud then is a guy who just two days earlier had an end for ufw cesar chavez comes up and says i really want to thank you for henls -- helping us out. i really appreciate it. gary sdenly had a life plan. he started from that point on working full-time for the ufw at $5 a week plus room and board. he then went to work for hotel workers along with a number of other ufw folks i got to know. he then went on the work for sciu. 's been a labor organizers -- organizer for the last 30 plus years. unlikely that would have been his future. we don't know where it would have ge. think about the experience. he was recruit s intently given the unlt opportunity to meet czar chavez and change his life direction. i met gary because my then
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girlfriend and long time wife was one of gary's volunteer lists when he was a staffer and you know, we noticed gary would drop by her apartment like around 5:30. and she'd be making dinner and time would go on and it would be about dinner time. gary. we're going to have dinner would you like to stay for dinner? don't mind if do i. because when you're living on $5 a week plu room and board you have to be pretty resourceful. and what the ufw folk learned was they knew how to live off the land. i discuss in the book. how many people hear miguel contrary res. i asked the person because miguel one of the most influential people in modern american history but many haven't heard of him. he ended up drawing most of his success and fame from the theme he should have and i discuss him in detail los angeles county federation of labor. but miguel in the early part of his life was up in tore
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ron to -- torto and with marshal ganes and these were central valley fox he spent his whole life there. toronto is kind of cold and when czar sent you up to work on a boycott. wasn't like he gave you money for expenses. so they had the $5 a week and had to figure out how to get warm. marshal and jessica noticed how did miguel get three nice coats? and then they started getting phone calls. it was the basile cans then it was the dominicans and each group was saying is miguel there? he said he wanted to consider joining our organization? well, miguel had given the impression he wanted to join and they gave him a coat to keep him warm. living off the land. jessica who was picking crops at age four. farm worker family goes up to toronto. does a good job. czar says you've done such a good job jessica. we're going to send you to montreal to run the boycott
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by yourself. you know wt langue they speak in monotree -- montreal? they speak french. jessica was raised speaking spanish and then learned english. she knew no french at all. czar sends her over there by herself st -- a 19-year-old fee mall in a male dominated area with the labor movement in montreal. not knowing the language and on $5 a week. also the ufw didn't give a budget. it isn't like today you start off and going to do an organizing drive allocate all of this money and all of these workers. it was jessica had to find her own place to live and survive. as i discussed in the book she ends up the montreal labor people just love her. super markets in montreal across the board stop selling nonunion grapes and she has this great success. despite the fact not even speaking the dominant language and figured out a way to raise money from
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religious groups and labor folks and succeed. and so again, if jessica had not had the opportunity the ufw and she became a great organizer he sled -- she led the fight against pesticides whoould have hired her a an organizer. labor unions in those days didn't hire women in male dominated field there would have been n place for her. person who is now executive vice president who has a long history which i discuss in the book has said if not for the ufw he probably would vended up at the best case scenario a foreman on a ranch. instead he just walks into -- he was a farm worier. he went into the hiring and he worked -- any work today? no. but we're going to hav this farm election. do you want to be involved in that. yeah, why not. sure. just like with gary. sure, i'll give it a shot. i don't know what it is about. fred ross senior was training a lot of young people how to win that election.
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and realized gee, i kind of like organizing. he does such ae1 good job. czar says i'd like you to heybs ourñi chicago5a boycotqñ he's like 19 years old. chicago. he thought chicago was like a few towns down the road. said, no. you have to fly to chica. you know. he goes to chicago does such a good job that when there's this antifarm worker legislation in florida. where it is going to just stop any future efforts to organize farmworkers they say goown to florida and kill that legislation. he goes there like jessica in montreal. no money no,+ budget.qwht(myok heçó eventually raised $50:iw3 for the campaign. so he gets there and he meets with the labor officials in florida. and they say he says what do you think. he said hey, forget it. this bill's a done deal. the bestou can do is wor out some kind of compromise and water it down a little bit. this is hope dples --
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hopeless. he says you don't understand. i'm from the ufw. we don't compromise. and i discuss in detail in the book how he did this. by the time he was done the florida citrus industry was begging the legislator the kill the bill. the entire tourist industry at florida was at risk due to him sort of you have to read how it actually happen. but kind of got this view maybe there was a tie fid -- typhoid epidemicn florida caused by bad conditions for farmworkers didn't want anything to0 do with farm worker legislation. $5, he kills that piece of edge slags. what the -- legislation. what the ufw did is give people a chance. they gave latinos a chance that would not otherwise have chance and gave women a chance and you know, in those days labor was very sexist and i'm not saying -- i knopeople are going to say there's still things to
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work on. t you know,xd afl-cio would have their convention with like women in bikinis in miami beach places and saying to women this is not really a place for you. similarlyf you are progressive like a new left activist and you wanted to help workers. be part of the labor movement well, people know who george is or i should say. george was hding the ark flc i o at the time. george supported the vietnam war and george used to -- ji a quote in the book about this he thought all these proteste that kind of smelled and were dirty. if you're a new levist and you want to help workers are you going to go work bor george? no. you're going to warnlt want to work for this hip progressive union the ufw. so you have latinos and you have women and you have sort of activists, new leftists all saying you know what, we do have a place, we can find
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a home in the ufw and it can be at the ufw. and you look at people like luis valdez. peter jones who is in the book under the labor heritage background. do peopl know who luis valdez is. really one of the most influential cultural figures of our era. he was very involved with the farmer movement fro the earliest stages. what's interesting even though valdez a radical supported the cuban revolution he was also supportive of the religious iconicy of the farmworkers union. someone le him would never are been part of the afl-cio in that area he started a thing that became whole cultural component that the uaw identified with. that's why the movement was so successful and why it is so interesting to say look at all of these people andw3 all thencredible work they did.xd
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and if it hadn't been for the ufw maybe or they've been born 15 years later, we would have lost all of that great talent. the people shaping today's movements. i talk about the electoral work and you know we all read in october, "washington post" had a story about how the obama electoral campaign sort of reinvented electoral politic. people see those articles reinvent electoral politics and i read that and said gee, i guess you think that but if you read my book you see all the obama campaign they did have computers and all but all they really did is take what the ufw did in 1968, 72 and 76 and then with ufw alumni then brought with them throughout california and then other states. you know, you read about in 1968 the dominant book about the presidential election in america was called the selling of the president.
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people remember that book. joe mcginnis picture of nixon and the cigarette pack and the whole message of american politics in the 60s and 70s and into the 80s was it's all about television advertising. television advertising mailers. it's a marketing thing. the ufw had a different direction. they were old school. they were saying no, no. the way to get latinos out to vote and people out to vote you have to go door-to-door and spend time talking at doors and you have to do real grassroots activism around elections to get turnout among low-income people. they're not going respond to television ads and they proved that in '68 making -- for robert kennedy make sure he won the democratic primary in california proved that in state election in '72 and proved thatgain in '76 and went on to prove it in other ections. their alumni. so with the0 -- what the obama campaign did is they went back to a model the ufw
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had created 3 years earlier -- 30 years earlier. the grass roots and keeping track of everything and knocking on doors and not just asking how they're going to vote but trying to recruit them as being organizerc at the door. that's what the ufw did in 1968. so there's so many aspects of the ufw their legacy that apply today that just simply have been forgotten. i was saying to someone before when you say to someone you know, you remember det. terrible pesticide. most people don't know det was eliminated in the united states because the farmworkers pressed for it. because jessica who grew up in the fields was convinced all these pesticis that everyond got used to sprague. in those days no one was a talk about organic anything. spray pesticides and go eat the food. what the heck. well, she was convinced she was getting headaches and thpeople, the workers she wasalking to were getting
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headache. hey, something's wrong here. went to ufw council and said jerry you have to work on this and at first he was skeptical. she convinced him. he went to czar and said czar we have to make pesticies a priority at first wasn't sure but afterwar said sure absolutely. as discussed in the book. before first earth day before 1970 before people haard about environmentalists 1969 here at the senate office building the farmworrs were having a hear on pesticides as i describe in the book they make safeway and the big grocery stores looki dick rouse and -- ridiculous and end up proving the case on pesticides and what happens is this, the growers say to chavez and this is not widely known, we'll settle th great boycott. we'll agree to union grape. we'll agree to the wages you want. you can have yr hiring hall. you can have the working conditions you want. big victory right. st people wld have said we won. let's call it. but therowers also said we
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have to have the unlimited right to spray pesticides. cesar wouldn't do. that he refused to reach a deal the end the grape boycott that allowed the farms to spray workers endanger their heah. in those days no one ever heard of the term environmental justice and the sierra club thought that's not our issue, we're in the lakes and mountains not spraying latino workers in the fields of california. they kind of built the environmental justice movement. they were the model for it. and you know ultimately when they reached these contracts in 1970 with the grape growers there were provision in all thcontracts that banned the sprague of harmfulym pesticides. becauseñixdñi the state governmt das do you remember who the governor of californiaçó was during heyday of the far wore worker movement?ñi ronald reagan. and if that wasn't bad enough. the president of the united states during that there 69 richard nixon and what those
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two men had a lot of things in when but what they really had in chon is they loved beg photographed eating grapes. we'll show those farmworkers. grapes are wonderful. and in fact the boycott was so successful. nixon had the defense department order a million pounds of grapes to make up for all the ones consumers weren't buying. but the point is so when they won the grape boycott no more hazdous spri -- spraying and sadly jessica who had illustriousçi career after leaving ultimately died of cancer. no one could know it was om the spraying but it's highly spected. but you cou say she did suck seed in getting red r rid of d zwshgs making the whole nation aware of the problem of pesticides on our food. another area where the ufw people sort of forget they had a role in. the who had -- the whole idea of surely -- clergy
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relations with labor. i think today so common to see labor unions involved having religious supporters. i don't know if win -- anyone's heard of labor groups in washington that work on justice coalition but people forget when the ufw in the 607s the religis commune wasn't working with labor unions in fact the religious unions were at odds because labs supported the vietnam war and was strongly against it. en cesar first starts you say the farmworkers were catholic s obviously the catholic church supported the farmworkers. well, who paid the salary of the catholic bishops? not farmworkers. growers who are also catholic. so cedar -- ces's original staff were migrant ministers who were protestant. jim and chris they became a staff. becae when cesar chavez started the ufw ting on ag gri business. taking on one of the bigge
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channels you could ever take on. taking on a challenge sol often given credit for chavez inact ratsly. saul and i describe this in the book thought he was crazy. cesar had to leave the communy services organization which was an organization that they didn't want organized farmworkers. he thought latinos were an urban people and need to be moved to the cities and organized there. everybody thought cesar was crazy. he decides to lawn afternoon farm worker move wment a total budget of $2.50 monthly dues and he and his wife pickingrops as farmworkers. so not a lot of money. he gets the migrant ministers to be his staff. they work fultime as the ufw staff. and then he has a big march in 1966 the virgin of guadalupe following him through the entire march and suddenly faith-based activists are saying we want to be part of the farmworkers movement. and it grows and grows. robert kennedy comes out to c#z
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a hearingnd he tel the bishops youan't beñixdçót( a mol bishop a. no aligned with the farmworkers. which at that point for bert kenly --xd kennedy mos influential catholic in the country was significant. as i discuss in the book the faith-based, the farmworkers are profoundly religious movement. cesar had a fast in 1968 which was incredibly successful and it was really a sense of drawing religious based activists into thi which helped build the movement. soe brought in all of these groups, women, latinos new leftists religious folks into a social change arena they otherwise would not have been part of. and that's what made this movement so great. and the important thing to remember is this is not, my book is not a history book and we're not talng history here. we're not saying let's go relivehe days of the 607s and p 07s -- 60s and 70s when all of this was going on. i have a chapter ird the book about a cam tan -- campaign
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that took place in the univsity of miami in 2006. the title of the chapter is yes, we ce. and someone said to me in one of my readings randy hate to tell you you've got a typo in your book. i sd no, no, they used yes we can for the cane because it it was miami hurricanes. have people heard of justice for janitors? it was conceived b stephen lerner an ex-ufw boy cat staffer who said gee, we've got to figure out a way to organize janitorsecause they were used to be organized historically and deunionized in the early 80s. he said farmworkers, i'm sorry january tors are a lot likearmworkers in high-rises. at the time everyone said you can't organize latinos. particularly undocumented latinos. they just can't be organized but he said let's try these farm worker tactics and he went to denver with another ufw alum and they succeeded
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in winning unionization in denver. and then went on to l.a. and big century city thing have a picture in the book on. they won justice for janitors and justice for janitors explodes where we have organized janitors all over america a now what happens is people say oh, well, you can't give a lot of credit for that because latinos just rush to join unions. th just want to join unions they're easy prey and before it was like you can't organize this group. that's what happens when you have successful tactic and strategies. when you go to this 2006 chapter in the book andf i took the dates off you would think you're reang about a 1970 farm worker campaign. same tack. same relationship with religious groups spiritual fast. delores -- person goes on a ten day fast in miami. and it all happens the same blueprint for success. the same blue print for success happened in 2006 as happened in all of these
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other campaigns. that's why i say if you look at the immigrant rights movement and all of these movements goingn today you can see the relationship that harkinned back to either the personnel or strategies and tactics of the farm sorker movement and i'll just mention the immigrant rights movement. you know those millions that took to the streets in 2006. do youuys think -- the media acted like oh, my goodness some spontaneous outburst. suddenly all of these families just rush out to the streets and a lot of us are wondering well, gee well, we didn't even know there were 3,000 latinos in garden city kansas or whereñl o p=a from wa how do they have a marchnd tulsa, oklahoma and north carolina. remember those 2006 events not just seattle, d.c., boston they were all over the country and you know why that happened. it's because a number of people from the ufw. alliances with cardinal
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many i discuss this all in the book. an infrastructure was built but they played an important role. ..
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the of labor and the george and gordon l. diggins of the human rights cause. has anyone here heard of the immigrant workers freedom right? one person. he wkedfor union at that point when that happened. it is understandable you hen't heard of it because it didn't give a lot of media attention. this occurred in 2003 and was set up by a lot of labor unions that immigrant rights groups and church groups, and the idea was we are going to take ten buses from various places in america and drive through the country and all end up in d.c. and new york and along the way we are going to talk to people about
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imgrant rights. now i was at a meeting in d.c., i am sorry new orleans i december 2002 with some labor people in this idea came up and everyone in the room said are these people crazy? in thereceding november the republicans just one the senate and they also have the house and they are thinking way, give his political moment in history unite here is going to spend money for atre it is going to spend money on having people rideuses tough america? that is crazy. here is what happened. where did those buses go on the freedom ride, waterloo, tulsa, the quad cities, all those small citi do we wondered in 2006 where did all those people come from? i will tell you where they came from, those connections were made in 2003 and so, when suddenly they have to build up the big turnout in 2006, it is like we know who to call in waterloo know the people in
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tulsa, w know the people in nebraska, we know the people in spokane washington because we worked with them a few years ago on this event when you look the "006 event, you know, the ufw influence was quite clear. the cover of my book has pictures of protesters with the american flags. remember in the early march there was a series of marches that occurred in march, april and may of 2006 and the early ones a number of marcher had mexican flags. do you remember that? all this complaint. they are not really americans, they are from mexico, mexican flags the cesar chavez confronted this, so cesar told people we are going to waive the biggest american flags were we go. no one is going accuse us of being communists. eliseo madino whenever this so after the first criticism they made sure at all those rallies and protests there was no
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progress of rallied. there were more american flags and human rights protests and the got the best media of any protest we have ever seen so that is the kind of media savvy they got from the ufw, so i think the big picture heres that it is amazing movement triumphing over impossible odds, far more than david and goliath, brought a generation of people who might not have been active this otherwise. somewhat, they might not have the opportunity to get the skil and training to dedicate their life. they might not have been so inspired ago at the it come of age in the '80s i don't know what would have been there for them, so the reason i wrote this book is to say let's let this amazing incubator institution and think about you know, we need more of them for the what arwe doing so that the people who all got involved in the obama campaign are just thinking, i have got all these organizing skills but what do i do with them? no one will hire me.
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do i have to go to law school? is that what we are telling them? or let's takeur best and brightest of those people and hire them as organizers. i wish the obama for america thing would rehire those people. they are hiring a very small number and the organization is not designed the way i would like it but it is something we should all think about because here is a whole group of people who would have such impact on our politics and now are in their 50s and 60s. we need to get the young people, the future charters who are going to triumph over impossible odds for justice. we need to figure outighs to help them so i will stop at that point and take questions. and thank you all and i hope he will buy the book here and fight for your friends because your friends would be inspired. i guarantee it is a very inspiring book which let people el like we can overcome incrible odds, and big money does not always win and i think you'll find it, he will close the book. i also have a chart of all these
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people lafont three, people like peter jones to after they left in the stuff the did for social chan because it is remarkable how many people have become part of social justice movements after leaving, so ank you fery much and i will take some questions. [applause] >> w do have this microphone set up over here for questions. and i would like to tha c-span's booktv for filming today's events, so thank you very much for comingut. and i also want to mention that i brought one copy of the activist handbook, my prayerbook if someone wants to buy for $15 wants to carry it with them to chicago would appreciate it. it is a great boo and they are going to start stocking it here. i may have one more someone needs of the let's talk about this. any questions? >> my question is you started to elaborate on it for the end, what is going on now to ornize
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the youth, especially like may be beginning as early as high-school? is there any organizing going on in the high schools? >> here is the problem. the problem is and the reason i was in new orleans, i used to run this organizing proam called justice cor and we would recruit people off of mpuses. the problem is there are youth programs and there is even campus tough, a lot of college students work on issues. the problem is the graduate college and then what is their employment opportuty? i was speaking and we were trying to encourage them to hire more. part of the problem is that a lot of jobs are not that interesting and there's a lot of c.o.r.n.'s felp there and there are some opportunities but i thought the obama campaign, for example you said right now hey all youolksho worked on the obama campaign, iean the people sho worked in two months on and full time and really got
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some skills, we need you to lp pa universal health care because we do need it. we need them to pass comprehensive immigration reform. we need that. why don't we hired them? why don't we say tv ads, e-mail and all of that? why isn't somebody hiring them? i think it is great to have technology and e-mail is wonderful in cell phones but just think, in the farmworker days there we not cell phones. so when u have a list of people you had to call and you would call gary guthman, where did you make at call from? people are often in theoycott house and they live seven or eight to a house. there is only one phone in that house. sessom when to church is. they have a lot of obacles we don' have but neverthels they were more successful in some respects of the question is hog we make people have careers working for social change. the reason my program and it was because i could not get enough groups willing to hire young
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people. there is an unfortunate bias among a lot of social change groups against hirg young people imparted that is young people flake out in don't stay in jobs, which i understand the part of it is the ufw treated organizing as an academic subject. it was a trade. i have the quote from marshall ganz said it was a tree. it is fred rousen marshall ganz, it was a trade and that iwhat book highlights. it was a skill you learned. it was not like i have a big heart, i care about the justice and the poor, go get them. their actual skill sets and strategies any to learn so when you get those from the two mont with obama and now you are in your 20 and graduated college and no one is saying to you build on that, that is like saying eliseo medina, he did really well but now you are going to be a ranch foreman or jessicyou go back to be a farmworker. that is this thing that is
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unfortunate and we have to figure outweighs to crte those opportunities. i should mention that just today there was the kickoff of a national campaign to bring farmworkers and domestics under the national labor relations act because the whole reason cesar chavez had such a struggle was because farmworkers when they passed a law that said you can be fired for union activity in 1935, considered one of the shiningighlight of the new deal, guess what? if you we a farmworker you could be fired. or a domestic. at race for domestic workers? african-american, latino and filipino so it was the races that. it was no different from what south africa did. very similar but for some reason today in the continental united states the only state that has the kind of full protections for farmworkers as california. and now the ufw is launching
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this thing that and you'll be hearing about it but i thi there's a hunger for people to get involved in that because it is just an injustice that the farmworkers are excluded. when the grape boycott, it s so crazy without the national labor relations act that when the gratoycott the rmworkers wanted a three-year contract. when it expired the growers unilaterally said you know what? we want our workers to be with the teamsters. at that point in history that wa organized crime. the teamsters have no limits on pesticide spraying so without the consent of the workers, suddenly farmworkers were in the teamsters union. that is how crazy it is without an agricultural labor relations act so that is happening an that is something you read about in the days ahead. other questions? go up to the microphone there.
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>> can you hear me okay? great book by the way. >> thank you. >> ias curious about the process of writing the book and you said what motivated you to do it but w did you go about doing the research and geing all the information you need, and then one otheruick question. if you could talk a ltle bit more about sort of your thoughts on this state of the progressi movement today or more narrowly, didn't labor movement or both? i think in the book you tal a lot about what we are doing right in the progressive movement, which is great becau we need to do more with the same time i am curious to hear your thoughts and what we could be doing better. >> let me answer the first question. i have to say i am very unusual in that i have not written three books and i am not a professor. ayman fuld-- i have a full-time
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job running in non-profit and i also run a-- about this ne campaign so i don't like taking time off to work exclusively on writing a book but i am fortunatehat i write very fast and i know what i'm looking for. i get to incredibly lucky breaks in this book. i started thi book, it was approved by the publication in late 2005, and interestingly enough the "l.a. times" had a four part series in january 2006 that basically said the theme of the series was, cesar chaz and ufw was a complete failure. look at the membership rules, lafite the condions of farmworkers and of course michael book, the wholehesis of my project was theonatelli with the success of the legacy of cesar chavez by current totals in the ufw so that inspired me to really get going because i have to prove these
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"l.a. times"uys totally wrong. d2 phenomenal look, what happens in the spring of 2006, immigrant rights movement explodes. i mean so here it was already planni writing about this build up to the immignt rights movement but i got lucky, it exploded. we could say see all this gund for county pay off. i also have the university of miami campaign, a textbook campaign. i could not have written, it is like fiction and it is so perfect for my book. so i have those posite things happennd i also had the fortune of break-in november 2006 elections were viewed as a litmusest for latino voting power. remember the marches. one of the major marching themes in the spring of 2006 was, to debut march, tomorrow we have vote. today we march, tomorrow we vote. signs were everywhere. the republican party made a big
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gamble because they said do you know what? we can alienate latinos all we want because i don't care what the sign say, they are not going to vote. yeah they voting california because labor is alys getting those people out there is no laboring in colorado xcel leaking voy headen aft those marches people will be even more anti-immigrant as they were. they were wron and as i discussed in the booking great detail because i think it is important to understand dutied using miguel contraris and eliseo medina this method of doing voter outreach developed the by the ufw they went to colorado and arizona in 2006 and defeated anti-emigrant republican cgressman using those tactics. in races for the media said this is a litmus test for the latino vote, they want so if they have lost, those elections well people would say brandy you wrote this book to talabout
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latino, all these great models and they didn't work. they did where can they work in 2008 so it was even better for the book so i think that was positive in terms of that but the way it was able to write this book because i had to work on it nights and weekends nonstop, i was driven to tell the story of all tse people it done amazing things forhe last 40 years and most of whom the average person has never heard of. eliseo medinwas executive vice president of seiu, i can't tell you how of inis groups, have you ever hea of eliseo madino? >> they say no. miguel contraris was then a big defense. i was at an event, ever hear of miguel contraris? no ufw folks never-- in terms of writing the book i had a passion to tell the story, tell the alumni come to tell all these people who why felt hadn't been gin the credit for the dramatic changes that have made in the world today.
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in terms of my view, i think we are at the great historic time and obviously i was happy when barack obama adopted yes we can after the new hampshire primary but some of you may remember when bark obama said yes pecan, everyone in this room probably thought that is cesar chavez,-- remember he did not mention cesar chavez or the ufw. when we did this we said yes we can. that is because i believe the ufw had endorsed hillary and delores who was, did give obama a hard time f adopting we can because she was the big hillary person but what many people don't know is where barack obama was going as soon as he left new hampshire. he was going to nevada to be endorsed by unite here an maria elena the rosove the widow of miguelontraris and for those folks, i guess we can did
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resonate so he had a secret message for them. and so, i think that we are in the great historical moment and although i do wish there were organizer is being-- i think it is the great period of time and i would just say this. what i don't want to seeappen is all of you in this room and the people i talked to, the spectators to history. what was so great about this fall was everyone felt like ere are making history. you are out there doing is great stuff, changing the world and setting america in a new direction. now there's the risk of saying, let's read the internet. what this cnn have? let's listen to keith olbermann and let's read this paper and we are being passive again because it might be a vehicle to be involved so i was happy to see howardean get smuckers the poor america end gid and organizing component there. the way to get people in fault, and i would also say don't let
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the mia depress you. the media, it does its best to depress you and to make it seem there is all these problems. the democrats are feuding. you have got to really ignored because it is a different world. the media is in a bubble. they are talking to themselves. by people getrustrated by it and if you are engaged yourself you realize people do want change and i think this year is the year we have g to kind of make it. am so thrilled that you are here and this is such an important sry and i ad told u.s. snt four yea with united farmworkers kenyan and i have my pen on today from my time in the '70s but iuspect you did a taping of some of your interviews and i am thinking about the oral histories will be preserved from the various people because the library of
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ngress would be a wonderful place perhaps to archive. >> i am glad you brought that up because there was a question that i did not really answer. i had one other lucky thing. there is a man named lee roy chatfield. i talked about. he became very active in the farmworker movement and a number of other things and hdecided with his own money as a labor of love to create something called e farmworker documentation project, farmworker so, i guess i had to do a lot of interviews and mostel my interviews, the vast majority were talking about people's contemporary work, their work in recent years because all these people submitted essays to the site and you can go to the site and read the essays. so instead of having to interview all these people, what they did in the '60s '70s i can go to their essay and take things out. it is interesting about that because i got overwhelmingly positive responses to this book for the one of the most-- i got
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a harshly -- il from a guy who wrote a farmworker book called long time coming. he is a reporter. he was a reporter for the chronicle covering the movement and he was mad about something i said that it turned out, i was just quotingn essay so he was all happy it wasn't me. i made it clear, but people have their views of history and what is put in those essays people might disagree with that but i have a record of what this person said, sit is a great sight. it has got photos. the biggest collection, i think it has some oral stuff. in his fantastic. it is areat resource and hopefully people will connected as a resource because i take parts of itp. i take bits and pieces of all kis of stories of peoe, about these inspiration's. you can read the whole thing on ne. that is farmworker
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farmworker lindemann has a question. it is called the farmworker documentation project. >> i read your booknd i'm looking forward to reading it but @aving said that one concern i have, it seems like the way he presented this is that the stories are almost like horatio alger's stories, people that learned from ufw and have gone ono the great this. a couple of examples h gave of medina and learner, those guys are very involved in crushing reformers within seiu right now, the whole fight with you h.w.. i know belorus is on the other side of that fight. it seems like the farmworkers have become less visible ever sie th split in the labor movement and they are choosing change to n over staying in the afl-cio and i'm just curious about the other side of the
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coin. do you see, dino, at some of these people gone astray? >> let's be very clear because this has come up before and i have a whole chapter in the book called the decline in thefw because how could i write a @ook called beyond the fields if all of these people stayed in the ufw? and i will just say and i will get to the other part about the current stuff, but, just a short answer to this. i'm not the first person to write about cesar chavez' increasingly bizarre and paranoid behavior in the 1970's. there are well documend. it is, you know edu is known. and that is why every but he but dolores, all the major figures have left the ufw, all the names i have given you, that is why they were all gone by 1981. there is a parcularly divisive
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issue that happened in the 81 convention which was the last straw for people but-- the issue was that there were no farmworkers on the ufw executive board. and they had these ranch committees. the ufw had no locals. how could workers at t local site-- here we have locals. they built uphese ranch committees to give workers some say. there were no farmworrs, no practicing farmworkers on the executive board and sell a number of the organizers learned to read a farm, they-- cesar still controlled the board but he was s paranoid by that time that he actually fired, the use procedural-- to present-- prevent the election and fire the peoplef involve from supporting it so it was a pretty anti-worker at. but or might an alysi differs from every oer book that has been written, thether books
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like fighting fields, all of them, their argument is okay those people left but the ufw is still strong and the republican goveors came to california for th next 16 years and that killed the movement. but that doesn't make sense when you think the greatest success of the ufw occurred when nixon wapresident and reagan was governor so obviously having reican officials is not a factor other rson ufw decline but that had a hall of fame of talent. it had a hall of fame of talent that then left and if you think the amazingly long and didficult struggle with this hall of fame of talent, with this massive national boycott organization and still the ticket long time, without those people how could they possibly succeed against agribusiness so it was no longer, after 81 bindi ufw sadly turn to like the same kind of retail-- tv ads, hinote, came to
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replate the unions he rebelled against originally. in terms of the reasons of which obviously came out after my book. the internal battle with asilo was unfortunate. i knowhe people very well because i worked in san francisco. i think that story, eliseo-- this was a dispute with the health care workers. i think that is the closer called. t@at fight is more complex than some of the stuff around the atre east of going on now with seiu and all and one thing about eliseo i think you could say is eliseo left the ufw in 1970 to eight. he left before any of the other leadership and he was seen by many people as the future replacement for cesar chavez and he left because h didn't, he felt cesap was going down the wrong track, was getting distracted with the.
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i discussed the various issues in the book where cesar was off track. but now i think he is a guy frankly nts to wor on immigrant rights and does not want to get embroiled in this stuff. he just kind of goes along and that is what i think it is about but i will say there are people on both sides. gary guthman work for you h.w., so there are people on both sides and y know, it is disappointing to see that but the ufw had its own internal issues and when you start thinking about it, labor unions seem to have continual internal issu. now that could be part of a whole separate analysis of why that is. i won't go into that tonight but is disappointing that we see labor, and i was talking to people today who say it is labor union, history of division. if you have that analysis, i will tell you and if you read this book, if you read this book you will see, there's no people
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in this country i he-- no organizers i have greater admiration for than the hotel organizer of atre e and i talk about theirampaigns because they are national hotel workers boycott came out of the farmworker playbook. don't think they added boycott in washington dc. they showed slides of the ufw grape boycott to train their staff and the community about how to do a boycott and they brought the boycott to the internet so when i see criticism from seiu of here that pains me far more than the disputing california which has a lot of internal components to it. but it is disappointing. i can't argue with you on that. cannot argue with you on that. any otr questions? i think we have another one here. >> it is actually not a
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question, but i have to confirm what you said that what i learned in the union during that time, the four years i spent with the union, i am a university professor at this point and i have continued in health care. i have continued to use those skil and when you said, how do we help our young people to get back to it? i think it really is incumbent on all of us to encourage the young people to get involved because there are many young people that got very engaged during this last campaign and it is how we all suprt that and encourage them and perhaps share our own stories that these were ve, very positive times and the skills i learned, i continue to share with my students even today. >> and look at, you have to ha a commitment to really recruitment.
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fred frostier during the '80s central america, the reagan administration, intervening in centra america, he decides we need an organization that is ing to go into congressional districts into real intense attacks of the local level and build support and put pressure to stop contra aid. ..
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there are two sides to that story, but that debate could that isn't why i came up here. i came up here because the obama is coming up here to be involved, they are going to go up as a group. so they are doing some things to keep this going. >> no, they are. we are going to stop. please, buy him the book her we are going to keep these independent bookstores afloa it the words out to your friends, it's a great gift.
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and i thank you all, busboys & poets. [applause] here i have my obama chavez book mark. >> randy shaw is the author editor of beyond con bald organics is currently executive eckert secular of the tenderloin housing unit. to find out more on randy shaw, visit from freedom fest 2,009 in las vegas a panel discussion on where american conservatism is headed and what needs to be done to increase its influence, taking part in the discussion are richard viguerie author of conservative speech read, john utley of conservative magazine, thomas phillips of ele publishing and thomas fuentes member of boar


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